Commissioner: Barbara Pickens

Barbara Pickens retired from law enforcement after serving the citizens of Lincoln County, North Carolina for over thirty five years. She began her career in 1971 as the first full time female deputy sheriff in the county. She progressed through the ranks and became the first female Chief Deputy in 1984. The highlight of her career was being elected Sheriff in 1994 and serving until 2006. Retired Sheriff Pickens is the first woman ever elected Sheriff in North Carolina.

Ret. Sheriff Pickens has an Associates of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and hundreds of hours of related training. She holds an Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate and taught Basic Law Enforcement Training for over 20 years. She served on the Board of Directors for the N.C. Law Enforcement Officer’s Association, was the Vice-Chair of the N.C. Sheriff’s Education and Standards Commission, chaired the Mandatory Annual Training Committee, and was a member of the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association. She also served as a member of the Legislative Committee and was Second Vice-President of the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association on her retirement.

Ret. Sheriff Pickens is an active member of the Lincolnton Chamber of Commerce and other local civic and fraternal groups. She has received numerous awards, but is most proud of the commitment she made to her community and her family. Since retirement she is enjoying serving on the Innocence Inquiry Commission, traveling and consulting.